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White Lion, Bristol Central, Bristol

Colston Avenue

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Reviews (Current Rating Average: 7 of 10) Add Review see review guidelines

Blackthorn _ left this review about White Lion

A small, Wadworth owned pub on the edge of the city centre, it describes itself as central Bristol’s smallest pub which is probably accurate, although the available space is supplemented by some outside seating on the wide pavement.

Internally it’s a single room bar with the bar counter taking up probably half the floor space. Décor is quite traditional with painted cream wallpaper on the top part of the walls and wood panelling down below, as well as some full height wood panelling over to the left. The ceiling wallpaper had been painted a mustard yellow shade, and an old ceiling fan swirled around lazily. A TV was at one end showing a news channel, although the volume was off so this was not too intrusive. That said, the music that was on was playing a tad too loudly I thought. A number of old black and white photographs of the locale were dotted around the walls, including a few of the river that used to run past the pub until it was concreted over in the 19th century. A sign on the wall said that part of the old city wall was visible from within the pub, although precisely where was not indicated, which seemed odd. From memory a cupboard in the gents loo revealed an old wall, but this was locked on a recent visit. On the subject of the gents, access is down an extremely narrow and windy spiral staircase, which was apparently from Bristol gaol originally. You do need to take it very carefully, especially if you’ve had a few.

Beers on tap were Bob, Stand Up IPA and Star from Wickwar along with their own White Lion Ale. A fifth pump appeared to have run out. Ciders were well represented with four from Thatcher’s – Gold, Haze, Dry and Traditional.

On 14th November 2019 - rating: 6
[User has posted 1742 recommendations about 1677 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

E TA left this review about White Lion

A single-room city bar of the very best kind, which has been trading since 1806. It's small, welcoming and lively, and it sells excellent beer. Of historic interest is part of the City wall which in included in the pub's architecture. There is seating on the pavement outside, and going to the gents' involves a perilous walk down a very tight flight of cat iron spiral stairs, and the bar is sparsely furnished. There was a small selection of megakeg, but the important bit was the array of 5 handpumps, all with Wickwar beers on draught. I ordered Bob, but it went off half way through pouring. Second choice was Try Time, which was in perfect condition, as you would expect. The others on were Falling Star, Cotswold Way and Shanakee Stout. The same beers (less the stout) were available in bottles, plus 2021, but time (and driving licences) meant we couldn't sample them all. The background music was acceptable, the one barman was good company. I'd be very happy to come back here, hopefully for a longer session next time, or maybe as part of a crawl.

On 6th April 2018 - rating: 8
[User has posted 2477 recommendations about 2455 pubs]

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Mark Davey left this review about White Lion

Excellent tiny one room pub with decent beer and a nice atmosphere. Beware the steps to the gents. Otherwise, well worth dropping in for the Wickwar brews. third time in here and will call again.

On 7th March 2016 - rating: 7
[User has posted 292 recommendations about 276 pubs]

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Danny O'Revey left this review about White Lion

Small pub but with some outside drinking space to the road. Does the range of Wickwar beers.

On 1st April 2015 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1276 recommendations about 1253 pubs]

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Real Ale Ray left this review about White Lion

I really liked this pub and glad we popped in for the cure, Saturday lunchtime after the PG crawl on Friday.
The barmaid was pleasant and helpful and the Wickwar beer were sublime. This one roomed pub is small, but does have adequate seating out front also. This pub is definitely worth a try.

On 19th November 2014 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2952 recommendations about 2952 pubs]

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Rex Rattus left this review about White Lion

As stated previously this really is a tiny pub. It doesn't look particularly small from the outside, but there's no depth to it with the bar counter facing you just a few feet from the front door. The Wickwar Gold was £3.60, and the Wickwar Bob £3.40 before the CAMRA discount was applied. Said discount was indeed a nice touch, which would have been nicer had it been my round, but I had bought the last round in the 'spoons so fair's fair I suppose. The food did look to be good value, with, as well as the £7 pie and pint offer, the pie mash and gravy was just £5.

I liked this pub as well. My only complaint was that the scantily clad, and presumably hardy, barmaid insisted on having the door propped open making the place too cold to take one's coat off. I would be delighted to visit this one again.

On 19th November 2014 - rating: 7
[User has posted 2573 recommendations about 2491 pubs]

Please Note: This review is over a year old.

Malden man left this review about White Lion

Centrally located, this is a tiny one roomer with space for just three small tables, a drinking ledge at the window and a couple of bar stools. The external canopy which allows covered overflow seating in clement weather does partially hide the attractive pub frontage and signage with the colourful frieze above the pub name. Inside is boarded, pump clips line a shelf which contain a few other bits and bobs, there are a few framed prints and an old map depicting the parish boundaries of Bristol. The bar back is polished dark wood with a possibly stone or plaster white lion standing on one end.
This is a Wickwar of Gloucestershire house, three of theirs were on, Gold, Bob and Banker's Draft plus Titanic Stout and Oxford Brewery Pride of Oxford. The 10% CAMRA card discount was a nice touch especially as it was my round. We tried the Gold and Bob and found them to be in fine fettle. Pieminister pies are served and there are deals to be had, a pie with mash, gravy and a pint is just £7. The pint is unspecified but in the absence of any dross like Ruddles or Smith's I imagine there isn't anything to worry about. They did have a keg version of Draught Bass, never seen that before and I struggle to get the concept.
The staircase descent to the toilets is as noted frequently, precipitous, I had need to risk this and found the sign about "No Passing" amusing as only a couple of Twiggy's thinner cousins would have a prayer. Once downstairs, the gents are shall we say, basic and functional.
I liked the pub, not sure why this was my first visit really as I have passed by often. We were in relatively early on a Saturday morning and much admin was going on with polishing, wiping and the seemingly fruitless repair of a non-compliant TV in progress. Obviously then there were only a handful of customers so it was easy to enjoy the visit, a space like this late in the evening might be claustrophobic and besides, where would you put your pie without spilling the gravy?

On 16th November 2014 - rating: 7
[User has posted 1685 recommendations about 1662 pubs]

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Quinno _ left this review about The White Lion

A pretty pub that is smaller inside than the exterior suggests – in fact it really is quite tiny. This little ale house is run by Wickwar brewery with an enviable position overlooking the green (well, more of a square these days) towards the Hippodrome. The interior is illuminated well thanks to some large windows which have a ledge with stools allowing one to gaze out and take in the city centre bustle. A TV on the wall is usually tuned to a rolling news channel and there are some daily papers to peruse. Proper entertainment is provided by the tight spiral staircase that leads down to the subterranean gents; basically, don’t attempt it if you’re pissed or porky (or both). The ales are usually all Wickwar though I have seen Bass Red Triangle in here on occasion. I don’t much care for Wickwar ales as they are often flat and fairly tasteless guff which makes the pub less of an attraction than perhaps it might be otherwise. A saving grace are the reasonable prices charged for them. If I was allowed to rate a pub 6.5, then this would get it.

On 2nd February 2012 - rating: 6
[User has posted 3969 recommendations about 3957 pubs]

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John Bonser left this review about The White Lion

Describing itself externally as the best little pub on the centre, The White Lion is a small traditional single bar pub on the very edge of Colston Avenue by the pedestrianised square.
Externally at first glance, it partly resembles a continental café, with its green canopy, shiny chrome seating outside on the pavement and a clear emphasis on advertising speciality coffees – either to have in or take away.
Inside we find a simply furnished ale house style of pub which includes a row of stools by a ledge where you can watch the busy traffic go by. Contrary to what you might expect from the outside, it’s very much a drinkers pub with evidently a few regular local characters. The spiral staircase to the downstairs toilets might best be described as challenging.
It’s a Wickwar Brewery tied house – their only one, so I gather – which, on my recent evening visit, was offering 5 of their beers which included Station Porter ( 6.1%). My pint of BOB ( £ 2.80p ) – which is described as the session bitter – was in good form. I’m not familiar with the Wickwar range, but I’m never particularly impressed when beers advertised on a blackboard above the bar are different from what the pump clips show – as was the case with at least 2 of the beers when I visited.
Worth popping in if crawling in the area.

On 22nd November 2010 - rating: 7
[User has posted 560 recommendations about 560 pubs]

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train man left this review about White Lion

I have survived the spiral descent to the loo and can report Wickwar Coopers, Bankers Draft, Bob(x2), Addlestones cider. Small bar surrounded by crowded drinking area, large windows to street from where, as Millay says, you can junction-watch (shades of a favourite Parisien bar for me) though you would have needed to do so from inside in last Sat's downpour. Scattering of tables & stools, drinking shelf at windows with barstools, wooden bar-back with good whisky selection. Seven pints cost a reasonable £18. I have to mention the poor guys collecting for charity – painted smurf blue & wandering around in just shorts in the pouring rain, also that Tigerdrinker ‘pulled' here – two senior ladies attaching themselves to the company until we had to leg it from the next pub…
ps. for me, the Nell Gwynne just wins the most hazardous descent, but I wouldn't fancy either at the end of a sesh.

On 22nd November 2009 - rating: 6
[User has posted 411 recommendations about 410 pubs]

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